Category: Made in Canada

Meet the Maker – Krista Kay Designs

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m 24 years old and married to a very supportive husband. I was born in Saskatchewan and will always be a prairie girl at heart. I’ve been making in one form or another since I was a child, from macaroni art to friendship bracelets to scrapbooking and card making and finally fibre arts. I went to school for advertising and marketing as well as event planning and now work full time in the incentive travel industry. My favourite colour is blue which shows up often in my work. I’ve very accident prone and I’m terrified of thunderstorms.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

A lot of my inspiration for new products comes from fashion magazines and Pinterest. I often think what I would wear or like in my home and start from there. Pinterest has been a great tool for finding beautiful colour combinations.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

Some of my favourite items in my store are the blankets I make because so much time and hard work goes into them. I love working on bigger projects like blankets because there is much more of a sense of satisfaction when it’s complete.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

When I’m trying out a new pattern design or new stitches I will often keep the tests for myself. This past year I’ve decided to start doing a few bigger projects like sweaters and other garments to expand on my skill and continue to learn new techniques. One of my yarn suppliers sells knitting kits with the yarn and pattern included for larger projects like these so I’ll be keeping those for myself.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love spending time in nature. Whether that is just sitting outside on a nice day, going for a walk/hike, camping or swimming, spending time in nature inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing. I also love to read, specifically chick lit or murder mystery. James Patterson is one of my favourite authors, I can never seem to put his books down.

My husband and I really enjoy watching movies, which has been great since it’s perfect knitting time for me!

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

I think the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner is constantly evolving with the times and seasons. Fashion and home style changes so you have to be open to coming up with new styles and designs. You have to be willing to try and fail in order to have that creative breakthrough. There is a lot of trial and error and that can be scary sometimes.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

I first learned to knit from my grandma one summer when she was visiting from Saskatchewan. I didn’t finish the dishcloth while she was visiting and had it half finished until I met my now husband. His nana re-taught me the basics and really sparked my interest in the craft. Most of my knitting and crochet skills are self-taught or have been learned by watching Youtube videos. Many hours of trial and error have gone into creating the products I make and only the best are put out for sale.

Books or Movies?

This is a tough one… I definitely prefer books over movies because there is so much more detail included in the story line but at the same time it gives the reader creative freedom to imagine the characters and the details as they wish. I love movies too but movies based on books that I’ve read often don’t hold up in comparison.

Find all of Krista’s cozy creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can check her out online!

Etsy: www.kristakaydesigns.etsy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristakaydesigns
Instagram: @kristakaydesigns

Meet the Maker – Grey Jay Wearables

What’s better than having a friend that you can rely on? How about having one that you can bounce your ideas off of and even run a business with? Meet Katrina and Kristine of Grey Jay Wearables!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

Like the gray jay bird, we are a little wild but super friendly. If it’s the right food, we might even eat out of your hand:) We are into health, the environment, advocating for change, canoes, bikes, friends, flashy shoes, and crafting items that we believe people could benefit from in their daily lives. An interesting fact about us, (perhaps only to some) is that we often travel with a cooler. We are obsessed with obtaining copious amounts of takeout from restaurants that we just don’t have access to at home. When this is a priority, you plan ahead and go prepared. These birds love them some amazing fabric and spicy takeout!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

We have multiple facets to our work. We have reusables…these reflect our granola side. Why throw away plastic bags every five seconds when you can use fun, washable snack bags? We are always looking for ways to keep things natural and sustainable. All our kids were cloth diaper babies. We also have a wild (yet friendly) side…choosing bold, bright and fun fabrics for our skirts, hair ties and snack bags. What’s life without colour?

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

We are both really dedicated and involved with our kids. Family time is a priority. Leaving them for shows is tough but hanging out as friends, chatting with other artists, getting tons of takeout and meeting new customers makes it worthwhile. Our working days present and interesting challenge but they are the best. The kids hopefully play well while we drink way too much coffee, create and solve the world’s problems. Our goal is balance. Good parents are happy parents so we try our best to fit in the stuff that makes us happy and artistically satisfied. Plus, there’s always the hope that just maybe…we are pulling off some good role model action.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

Learning how to use our new tools. The screen printing gear took some getting used to. Finding the right pressure to produce great prints was tricky. Every time we change fabrics, we have to learn again. We also taught ourselves to use a serger…one of our most amazing tools. Intimidating at first, it has become our sewing go-to for all our garments and reusables.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I’m in love with the wrap skirts! They are comfy, versatile, flattering AND, shut the front door…they have pockets. Shazam! The fabrics to choose from are amazing, we go nuts trying to choose one over the other. We want to make a skirt out of all of them. I took mine on a beach vacation and it was the bomb. Light, small, packable and I could wear it as a wrap over swimmers or stand out in a crowd at dinner. The miniature version for children is just as awesome. Kids can wear it for years. It’s unique, fun and made with care and good times. They are all one of a kind and in our humble opinion, they totally rock.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

Our screen printing gear! Every time we do a print we marvel at the results. Pushing the ink through the screen onto the fabric is super satisfying. When we remove the screen after we run the squeegee across it, hand clapping usually ensues. We built our screen printing table by padding a beat up old work table and covering it with crisp fabric. Screen, ink, squeegee, designs…fabulous results.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Absolutely. We use and wear everything we make. We love it that much. You have to love what you create right? So often it’s hard to sell it, we want it all for ourselves:) The hair ties, skirts, cuff links and brooches are regular fashion items in both of our homes. The hankies, snack bags and food wraps literally get used everyday, often more than once. They fill our kids lunches and our own as well for long shifts that require lots of snacks. Every bag/purse has a hanky – they feel better and they just straight up make sense.

Find Kristine and Katrina’s whimsical creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23, 2017 or check them out online.

Etsy: www.greyjaywearables.etsy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/greyjaywearables

Instagram: @greyjaywearables

Meet the Maker – Wildgrove Apothecary

Did you know that soap starts out as oil and water? The science behind soap making is fascinating and one that I love dearly (I used to be a soap maker..) I love how simple Elizabeth’s creations are – tapping into the goodness that mother nature has to offer! Read on to find out how Elizabeth started out!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am fairly simple. I love being outdoors, dogs, and knitting.

Where did your business idea come from?

Like many people, my business developed from personal need. My skin is extremely sensitive to all the chemicals in modern skin care products. Even some well known ‘natural’ products would cause it to break out or became red and irritated. So I created my first products–the Lavender and Frankincense moisturizer and cleanser–out of pure desperation. When I saw the changes to my skin after using them for a few weeks, I started making it for family and friends. And, my business grew from there.

How does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I am a nature-loving, simple, organic type of person and my products reflect that fully. They are 100% natural, organic and made with simple and pure ingredients.

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What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

My biggest learning curve since starting my business has been social media. Being visible on social media does not come naturally for me, so learning what and where to post has been a deep learning experience.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

My inspiration comes from two places; family and friends, and the plants themselves. When a friend or family member approaches me with some kind of health or skin issue, I start playing around in the kitchen trying to come up with an effective remedy or recipe. My friends call it “Kitchen Witching”, because it usually involves a lot of herbs, a mortar and pestle and great smelling essential oils. For example, I formulated my Hot Flush products after a friend approached me because she wanted relief from the discomfort of hot flashes. My Healing Skin Balm was devised for a friend suffering from eczema. My Honey, Lavender and Frankincense Cleanser and Moisturizer duo were designed for me, who has hyper sensitive, aging, yet prone-to-breakout skin. The second way I receive inspiration is from the plants themselves. As I discover more and more about their amazing healing gifts, I devise products designed to showcase these medicinal uses. For example, I’m working on a soap made from nettles, which is amazing for inflamed, irritated skin so it would be great for people with rashes, eczema, or psoriasis.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It depends on the product. Soap can take a few hours to make, but then takes 4-6 weeks to cure. My lotions and balms can me made in an hour or two.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

My faves change depending on my needs. Right now I’m having trouble sleeping, so I am in love with my Dream Cream. It’s a body butter that has been formulated using essential oils renowned for their relaxing and sedating qualities. Using it just before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What is the story behind your business name?

That is a good question. I wanted something that represented what I did and what I valued, so it had to be a name that made reference to the woods or forest as so many of my materials come from trees and plants. The apothecary part came from what I was doing with these plants–taking them from nature and formulating them into products that nourish and heal.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love getting out of the city and heading to the cottage. A walk in the forest or swim in the lake, always rejuvenates me. At home, when I can’t get away for any extended period, I love walking my dogs in the wooded ravine by my house.

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Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Just keep going, one step at a time. It will definitely seem daunting and feel overwhelming at times, but just keep moving forward one task at a time. Oh….and make sure you use tags…

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My Healing Skin Balm is my best selling item. It’s popular because it works. It’s rich and creamy, smells great and helps ease the discomfort of eczema or psoriasis. I love to put it on my feet at night. When I wake up in the morning, my feet feel fantastic!

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

No, I am a full time high school teacher. I balance my day by taking advantage of my evenings and weekends, as well as any time off. Summer vacation, Christmas and March Break are all times I work crazily on my business. During the school year, it’s weekends and evenings.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

For me, the most challenging aspects of being a creative business owner has been social media. I am fairly shy and introverted by nature, so being visible on social media has been a struggle. I am learning though.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

Both. I take lot of classes on herbalism and plant medicine making, as well as aromatherapy, but my products themselves are often trial and error. Even though I might have the right formulation of plant and herbs, I sometimes have to experiment with the best way to get it onto the skin, whether it should be a lotion, salve, cleanser, balm, etc.

Find all of Elizabeth’s concoctions at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd, or follow her online channels!

Website: www.wildgroveapothecary.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildgroveapothecary

Instagram: @wildgrove_apothecary

Meet the Maker – ThreadXLove

We’re thrilled to have Stephanie from ThreadXLove as a Vendor for our upcoming #MadeinCanada Market! Read on to discover more about Stephanie and her cheeky threads 😉

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m a special education teacher and new mom to a beautiful baby girl. Crafting has always been a hobby, but Thread X Love was built from my love for creating custom pieces for the people I love!

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I started Thread x Love as a part time Etsy shop before kids. I’m a full time special education teacher, but I would stitch in the evenings to relax and unwind. In September we welcomed our beautiful baby girl and my time to stitch has definitely changed! When she was tiny she loved to nap splayed across my lap and I would actually stitch with her there. These days she is a baby on the move so my crafting supplies are always safely tucked away and my stitching time has definitely become shorter! I’m still an evening stitcher, and still use it to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It’s easy for people who have cross-stitched before to understand the amount of work that goes into each piece. A more simple piece will usually take me about 4-6 hours to complete. More complex and detailed pieces will often take me 15-20 hours to finish. I break that apart over several days, but I often get “sucked in” to a piece and loose track of time! My eyes and back will often be the reason I have to take a break.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I love all of my pieces!! My favourite pieces to make are customized ones – the family and wedding portraits are such a fun challenge. I have loved capturing pets and children and wedding details. The idea of something I made hanging on people’s walls and bringing them joy is the ultimate reward for my hard work.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My family cottage is what I call my “happy place”. It is a long three hour drive north of our home in Newmarket, but the minute I get out of the car I feel completely at peace. Luckily my husband loves it as much as I do, and now we are having so much fun watching our daughter enjoy the cottage life as well. Stitching at the cottage with a huge cup of coffee (or glass of wine!) is pretty much my idea of the perfect day.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

My mom taught me to cross stitch as a kid. During rainy summer days at the cottage she would my brother and I sewing, cross stitching, rug hooking, quilting, and all kinds of other crafts: I loved those days so much!

When I was recovering from back surgery about ten years ago I decided to pick cross stitching back up again to pass the time stuck in bed. I fell back in love again and haven’t put the needle back down since! After making pieces for friends and loved ones, everyone encouraged me to start selling them on Etsy.

You can find Stephanie in person at the Made in Canada Market or check her out online!

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/ThreadxLove

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThreadxLove

Instagram: @thread_x_love

Made In Canada 2017 Announced!

It’s an exciting day here at York Maker’s Headquarters! Our team is thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Etsy York Region to host their 2nd Annual Made in Canada Market!

We are returning to the beautiful Aurora Cultural Centre – but this year, we have more space & much more for you to see and do at the market!

This year we are featuring a DIY Maker Space where some of our makers will be hosting hands-on workshops so you can learn a new hobby! We have more space this year which means even more handcrafted goodies for you to discover!

Follow along on our Facebook Page or Instagram Channel to get updates and vendor sneek peeks and make sure you RSVP your attendance and share our FB Event page!!

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Meet the Maker: Halyard Flags

Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artists and creators from York Region. I want to invite you to meet Liza Wallman, the designer and creator of Halyard Flags.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

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My name is Liza Wallman and I am an artist and perpetual student. I live in Toronto and do my work for my small business, Halyard, at my studio in Uxbridge. My days often involve getting a good night’s sleep, listening to podcasts, studying, cooking and of course making hand painted flags and signs. My most recent interesting fact about me is that I drove to Washington to attend the Women’s March on Washington!

I absolutely love your half and half flags. Where did this idea come from?

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Thank you! This idea came from a couple of places. First, my boyfriend is a duel citizen of America and Canada. Around 4 years ago I made him a piece where the Canadian flag was on one side and the American was on the other. Shortly after, a friend of mine who lives in England asked me to make a half Canada half Union Jack flag. It’s true what they say: life is the best inspiration.

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

My process is so fun. There are four main steps: cutting the wood, drawing and painting the design, halyaard5sanding and staining the piece, and putting on the hardware. My favourite step initially was the painting; however, I’ve really grown to love cutting the wood and am proud of this particular skill set I have developed. Pieces can take anywhere from 2 hours to 10 hours to complete from start to finish, without drying time.

Why did you decide to open an Etsy store?Halyard 8

Above all, the support of my family and friends made me decide to open an Etsy store. The fact that it was inexpensive and relatively easy to set up definitely helped.

Do you have any markets booked for 2017 and if so, where can we find you?

2017 is an exciting year for me! I’m back in school (See? I told you I was a perpetual student.) taking a project management program to advance my career and my small business. I halyard1decided to take a break from craft shows while I’m in school but I can’t wait to get back to shows in 2018!

What is your most popular design?

My most popular design is the half USA half Canada flag, by far.  Although, my recently released camping signs are a close second.

Coffee or tea?

Tea! Especially if it’s from a local vendor. I love an herbal dessert tea.halyard7

Check out the latest and greatest from Liza and Halyard Flags!

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Etsy
Instagram
Facebook

 

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Made in Canada 16 Wrap Up!

108-1Wow!! What a FANTASTIC day! Our market was a spectacular hit and we are thrilled that so many people chose to spend their day with us!

Our vendors were a wonderful selection of what York Region has to offer and we hope you take a look at our Vendor Look Book so that you can keep supporting them even though the market is over.

Missed the market? Take a look at our gallery of photos taken by RealPix.ca and Ophra Alexandra

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PRESS: Etsy: a global marketplace for artisans

Originally Posted in the Aurora Banner – Author Amanda Persico, Photos by Steve Somerville/Metroland

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Etsy captain Ariane Griffiths shows off some of the merchandise for sale at the Aurora Cultural Centre, Sept. 13 to 16.

Many artisans sell their unique handmade items at fairs, markets and trade shows.

But registration or booth fees can be costly and traveling to and setting up can be time consuming.

“Artists want to make a living off their work,” said Samantha Rodin, executive director of the York Region Arts Council. “Being creative is a passion, but it doesn’t pay the bills.”

Etsy – established in 2008 as a marketplace for handcrafted goods, vintage items and craft supplies – is bringing the world of craft markets and artisan fairs to a global market.

The grassroots platform allows artists to sell their one-of-a-kind creations in a one-of-a-kind shop online.

Last year, the company reported more than $2.49 billion in worldwide online sales.

But that’s not to say Etsy doesn’t host markets, where shoppers can touch, feel, see and smell handmade items.

Each year, Etsy hosts national Made In markets, featuring items made by artists from a particular country.

The Made in Canada Etsy market is Sept. 24 with locations in more that 40 cities across the country, including Toronto, Mississauga and for the first time York Region.

Etsy is all about the creative arts industry, going beyond pictures, paintings and sculptures.

Etsy sellers include graphic artists, jewelry makers and sewists who make a range of handcrafted items from macramé plant hangers, jewelry, typography art, greeting cards, blankets, dice bags, game character pegs, baby toys, pocket watches and home décor – all at affordable prices, too.

“Etsy makes art accessible for the everyday person,” Rodin said. “Handmade pieces are not for the upper echelon of society anymore.”

A bouquet of flowers, made of clay and painted, is one of the many items for sale in the upcoming Etsy York Region sale at the Aurora Cultural Centre.The global marketplace connected more than 1.6 million active sellers with more than 24 million shoppers.

“Etsy allows me to reach a market I would not normally reach,” said Ariane Griffiths, York Region Etsy captain and owner of Etsy shop La Petite Stitcherie.

Griffiths makes and sells handmade, custom stuffies, blankets and taggies for babies and children.

“I’ve sold items to people in the United Kingdom, Australia and California from my little house in Keswick.”

Not only is it a marketplace to purchase rare treasures custom made for each purchaser, Etsy is also a place where shoppers can meet the makers, each with their own story.

“Many big box stores by the rights to a piece of work and sell prints or copies,” Rodin said. “Most times the product was not created by an artist at all.”

Etsy is the reverse of mass marketing, where each product and shop is unique to it’s creator. And each product is unique to the buyer as a majority of items are customizable in terms of colours, names, initials or sayings.

Not only do patrons connect with creators, but also with the creative process.

Many artisans post product pictures as well as artsy process pictures of the item being made by hand.

Similar to the farm to table craze, Etsy is about craft table to table, said Mississauga resident Iva Ouzounova, owner of Dream Willow Studio, a hand-stamped jewelry and accessory Etsy shop.

“Artists are excited to make their products, knowing someone will enjoy the piece,” said Ouzounova, who is part of the Craftadian Made in Canada market. “There is a positive energy that comes with each piece, from the maker to you.”

Etsy York Region is hosting a Made in Canada market Sept. 24. This pic shows some of their merchandise for sale at Aurora Cultural Centre, including jewelry. Sept 13, 2016The relationship to the artist extends beyond the product. It’s knowing the purchase will help support a local artist, a small household or a child’s hockey season.

“You’re contributing to a local artist and most likely it’s a stay-at-home mom who is trying to make money or save for a family vacation,” said Griffiths, a mom of two, who falls into that category, selling her latest creation of ceramic and wood coasters to fund a family trip.

While Etsy makes it easy for sellers to sell, what makes a particular shop successful is treating it like a business, said Ouzounova, who comes from an accountant background.

“You can’t just set up shop and wait,” she said. “You’re a crafty person, that’s why you’re on Etsy. But you also have to learn how to be a businessperson. Etsy organically teaches that.”

There’s a word for artist turned entrepreneur – artrepreneur.

Etsy operates on a shared success business model, meaning company revenue is contingent upon having successful artists.

As such Etsy shares in the responsibility of turning artisans into artrepreneurs by offering how-to courses and workshops such as how to: post a listing, take product photos, benefit from search engine optimization, use social media, ship products, understand copyright and intellectual property, process payments, and grow your business.

There are fees associated with selling on Etsy – a listing fee of about 20 cents and a small percentage fee on each item sold through the online shop.

With a supportive entrepreneur model, Etsy allows crafters to make a living without the risk, Griffiths said.

“There’s no monthly payment or rent,” she said. “The sky’s the limit with your shop.”

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Artists Featured

Pic 1 – Sign by Rustic Hustle, Stuffed Animals by Sew Shenanigans, Crocheted Iron Man by Via Hand, Purses by Luuee, Greeting Card Kit By PaperPlusCloth, Flowers by The Flower Girl, Blanket & Cloud Pillow by La Petite Stitcherie

Pic 2 – Blanket by La Petite Stitcherie, Flowers by The Flower Girl

Pic 3 – MCH Creations

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Meet the Maker: Ohmyinspired

Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artists and creators of the York Region. For episode 11, I want to invite you to meet Karen Wong of OhmyinspiredIMG_3170.

Your items are beautiful and the images are captivating. What is your background / how did you get started in watercolour painting?

I’ve always loved the fine arts when I was younger. My parents put me into art classes from a young age until high school, exploring acrylic painting, linedrawing, pastel, and watercolour. My favourite has always been watercolour.

IMG_0036What inspired you to begin Ohmyinspired?

It was the summer of 2011 when I was laid off from my job. It made me realize that life is always full of unexpected circumstances and that propelled me into thinking about my hobby and I
asked myself, if not now, then when?

Do you currently do this full time? How do you find balance between your passion and day job?

I wish I was able to do this full-time. I just returned back to my day job after being on Maternity Leave and it is definitely hard to find time for my passion. But when you want something badly enough, you somehow make it work. I try to keep inspired by looking through Pinterest and Instagram in my spare time, and keeping a sketchbook close by to jot down my ideas. Then I try to dedicate at least one day a week where I can have a few hours to myself, so I can put those ideas into action.

The photography in your shop, and on your profile page, is lovely. What are your photography suggestions for great pictures?

Lots of soft, natural lighting! But nothing too direct that creates a lot of harsh shadows. I try to keep the background simple so it showcases my products more.

You’re a pretty new mum. How do you find being a mother has changed your craft and where do you see it going down the road?IMG_0545

I definitely see the world through a different set of eyes after having my son. It reminds me to let loose once in a while, have fun, and to be silly sometimes. I love that I am able to express it through my art, allowing it to be abstract and light hearted.

Your quotes are inspirational and give us insight into you as a person. What draws you to them and how do you choose which ones to include in your pieces?

The quotes and bible verses I tend to choose are geared towards encouraging someone or yourself to take the leap of faith. I am a generally cautious person so sometimes I need the little push to get myself going or to be brave enough to take a risk.

IMG_0828Do you have a favourite item in your store?

Anything to do with my camper van and “adventure awaits” design is my favourite.

We will see you in September at the Etsy Made in Canada. Are you working on anything new for the event?

Yes, I am! I am hoping to have some original prints, a new design on a tote bag, and some new pin back buttons.

Painting or shopping?

Painting definitely! Unless I’m shopping for paint supplies… 🙂

You can find Ohmyinspired at the Etsy York Region Made in Canada event September 24th in at Aurora’s Cultural Centre. Click here for more details.

Follow Karen below for the latest and greatest:

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Instagram: @ohmyinspired
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Meet the Maker: Via Hand

Here on the Meet the Maker series we hope to introduce you to the local artists and creators of the York Region. For episode 10, I want to invite you to meet Rosilynn Williams from Via Hand.

Tell us a little bit about you and your shop

I am a mom of 2 wonderful boys, 5 years and 6 months old. Currently on maternity leave, however my other full time job (besides mom) is Store Manager for one of the Newmarket locations of Dollarama. My shop just opened up recently, although I have been selling through Facebook for a while, with sales here and there. I learned how to crochet when I was about 15 from one of my close friends, at the time it was small things like patchwork blankets and scarves. I never really thought much of it, just something to keep my hands busy. When my oldest was about 2, always being the creative person I am, I decided to make his favourite character into a stuffed animal for him. It took off on my Facebook and I was hooked on stuffed animals. My boys have always inspired what I make, and I am sure they will continue to do so. I love being creative with them and exploring the imagination, whether it be playing pirates on the playground, making paper planes, or figuring out how to diy organization and decor.

1469722541715In your Etsy shop i see you started making your handmade animals/lovies etc. because of your child’s love for Toopy and Binoo! Since then, how have you grown your creations and what have been some of the challenges?

 My creations either come from popular characters, or the stories I used to hear as a child. Most of the big hits come from customer requests. I have always told my customers, if you don’t see it in the shop, lets talk and work it out to make a custom creation for your little one. By the time it is finished and posted it becomes a big hit and gets added to the shop. The biggest challenge has been trying to balance time with both boys and working on building my shop. I added in the teething items, which have been a great addition, and am trying to use the time I have off with my youngest to focus on building up my Etsy shop and making it a success.

What made you take the jump to include teething items in your shop?

My youngest was about 2 months old. He was soon going to be teething and I wanted to be prepared. I already had the tempra on hand for fevers, however I wanted a different option for those itchy little gums than constantly giving him medication or chewing on his fingers or other peoples. I searched online and on etsy and found a supplier within Canada, ordered a small bunch of what I would need, and made a few rings and necklaces. Eventually posting them online when i felt comfortable with my design and build. Turned out to be great! My little one is the official tester for my teething line and he loves his job! He even comes to showcase the teething line at shows. I love the fact that the teethers are free of any harsh chemicals, certified food grade silicone and natural wood, with an all natural sealant to keep the wood soft. I don’t need to worry about what hr has in his mouth and if it will make him sick.

20160726_085118-2Is this something you want to keep doing even as your children grow or do you think your shop content will change with them?

I would love to continue making both stuffies and loveys as well as the teethers. I enjoy making them and I enjoy making your little ones happy.

As you say you’re a Mom, what one piece of advice do you have to other parents trying to balance raising kids, Etsy and day jobs?

My advice would be to learn how to multi task. Luckily for me, being a manager had already taught me much of this. Multi task by setting aside time to work and include your kids in what you are doing. I tend to crochet while the little one is playing on the floor beside me or in his jumper. Talking to him or counting out loud (which is a favourite of his right now). If my oldest is having a snack or sitting watching something i will grab my hook and yarn and crochet. I ask him what he thinks or for ideas. It is all about balance and making sure you have time for work and time for family. It may take a little bit of time to get in the right groove but do not give up, you will find it and you will roll with it and you will succeed at being the supermom you are.

To date, what is your favourite item that you have made?

To date, I still love Patchy Patch. He is the perfect mix of patchwork and cuteness.

20160530_215020Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Very rarely. I have made myself a couple scarves, and some necklaces, although they are actually meant for the little one.

We will be seeing you at the Made in Canada event, what are you hoping to showcase?

I am currently working on refining some patterns to bring back some old favourites. And introduce some sets for the teething line.

Ice Cream or Cake?

Definitely ice cream!

You can find Via Hand at the Etsy York Region Made in Canada event September 24th in at Aurora’s Cultural Centre. Click here for more details.

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